Tinder Swindler true story: Where is 'Simon Leviev' aka Shimon Hayut now?
Everything you need to know about Shimon Hayut featured in the Netflix documentary.
Netflix has added another true-crime documentary to its library, this time looking at the crimes of conman Shimon Hayut, who was arrested in 2019 for posing as a billionaire named 'Simon Leviev' on a dating app Tinder in order to defraud women out of hundreds and thousands of dollars.
In the documentary The Tinder Swindler, three women who were duped by Hayut have come together to share their views on their experiences.
So, who exactly is Shimon Hayut? And where is he now? And has he reacted to being the subject of the popular Netflix documentary?
Here's everything you need to know as about the Netflix true-crime documentary The Tinder Swindler.
The Tinder Swindler true story explained
Who is Shimon Hayut aka 'Simon Leviev'?
Shimon Hayut is a 31-year-old man, who pretended to be a billionaire named Simon Leviev on Tinder.
He referred to himself as ‘the prince of diamonds’ and claimed to be the son of billionaire Russian-Israeli diamond mogul, Lev Leviev.
To make his story more believable, Shimon legally changed his surname to Leviev and hired a team of fake assistants and business partners. He also claimed to be a high-powered CEO who constantly travelled for work.
In order to fund his lavish lifestyle of private jets, luxury hotels and fast cars, he conned a number of women out of thousands of dollars.
Shimon would first shower women he met on the dating app with lavish trips and gifts, using money he had taken from other women. To keep up his act, he would then ask for more money from these women, telling them he needed to protect his identity due to security concerns.
The Tinder Swindler sees three of Shimon's victims teaming up to share their stories. The three women are – Cecilie Fjellhoy, Pernilla Sjoholm and Ayleen Charlotte.
Fjellhoy, 29, matched with Shimon back in 2018. At the time, she was a graduate living in London and for their first date, he organised a private jet to Bulgaria from London.
"When I first talked with Simon, we immediately had a bond," says Cecilie in the Netflix doc. "It felt like stepping into a movie."
However, this fairytale romance soon turned into a nightmare for Cecilie, who later found herself in over $200,000 debt.
Four weeks into their relationship, Cecilie said that Shimon asked her to take out a massive line of credit for him, saying that it was needed to avoid leaving a paper trail in his name.
"One of the main reasons why he needed it was protection… he needed my name as a cover, he said," Cecilie told Nightline in 2019.
"I know it sounds crazy... [but] why would he have this giant guy with him if he didn't need the protection?," she said, referring to an apparent bodyguard.
By the time Cecilie realised that her money had gone, their relationship was over and Shimon was already onto his next victim - a Swedish woman named Pernilla Sjoholm, who he is said to have splurged over $10,000 on taking to the opera in a limousine.
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Eight months into their relationship, Shimon asked to borrow $45,000 from Sjoholm, which he paid back with a watch she later discovered was a fake.
Soon after lending Shimon money, Pernilla learned that she had been swindled. An investigative reporter for Verdens Gang contacted her to explain that they were researching the case of a serial fraudster. Together, they set up a sting operation to stop Shimon Hayut from his continuing his scam.
Where is Shimon Hayut now?
Shimon Hayut was eventually caught in 2019 during a joint operation between Interpol and the Israeli Police.
Via text message in May 2019, Shimon Hayut had told ABC's Nightline that he was innocent and the accusations against him were merely about "a loan between friends that went south".
"They used me for my life, they got expensive gifts and everything, in other words gold diggers," he added. "When I ask help they agreed to help and they know that I have some problems. I didn’t run from no one, it's all fake news and lies."
He was sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $43,289 in compensation in December 2019, but he was released after only serving five months.
Shimon had previously served a two-year sentence in a Finnish prison for conning three women in 2015.
“How can you give trust to a man like that, who escaped from Israel twice? A man that deceived and swindled women in Europe for hundreds of thousands of euros. Where is the justice?” Pernilla told a news outlet at the time.
How did Shimon Hayut react to the series The Tinder Swindler?
Shimon Hayut has shared his thoughts on the Netflix documentary The Tinder Swindler ahead of deleting his Instagram account.
According to The Independent, Hayut had gained 200,000 followers on his Instagram page before he deleted his account.
Prior to deleting, he reportedly posted: "I will share my side of the story in the next few days when I have sorted out the best and most respectful way to tell it, both to the involved parties and myself."
He is then noted to have stated: "Until then, please keep an open mind and heart."
The Tinder Swindler arrives on Netflix on Wednesday 2nd February. Read our guide to the best series on Netflix.
For something else, visit our TV Guide our check out dedicated Documentaries hub.